Striped Mud Turtle
Description: This ovular, fist sized turtle is generally 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) long and has a dark brown to black carapace (top of shell) and light brown to yellow plastron (underside). Some individuals have three faint stripes going down the length of their shell. The plastron is has two hinges that allow the turtle to fully cover its head and legs. The skin is dark and their face has two yellow head stripes that extend from the nostrils, over the eye, to the back of the head. Other yellow stripes may be present behind and below the eye. Young Striped Mud Turtles are around an inch in size and dark above and below.
Natural History: The Striped Mud Turtle is generally found in heavily vegetated bottomland wetlands such as black water swamps, sloughs of rivers, and roadside ditches. They are semi-aquatic and spend a good amount of the year buried on land beneath forest floor debris. They consume a variety of small invertebrates, seeds and leaves of aquatic plants. As adults, they are very infrequently predated upon, but their nests are often dug up and consumed by small mammals and snakes. Females typically lay eggs in fall and early spring.
Similar Species: The Eastern Mud Turtle (K. subrubrum) has an unmarked carapace and less streaking on the face. It never has a yellow stripe between the nostril and eye.
Distribution: This turtle is found in the coastal plains of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and is found throughout peninsular Florida.
Contributed by Jake Zadik (2/24/2020)
Click here to view South Carolina county records of this species on Herpmapper.org